Longtime Chainwheel Inc. owner Bruce Thalheimer is selling his upscale bicycle store in Little Rock to a vendor, Trek Bicycle Corp. of Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Thalheimer declined to disclose the purchase price and said the deal would close in mid-September. He also said he had contemplated selling for a while.
“The reality is, as retail changes, one of the things that we’ve been doing is we’ve been leaning on Trek — you know they’re really into retail; they own quite a few stores personally, as a company — and we felt like that would be a great way to continue forward with a company that’s been here for 48 years,” Thalheimer continued.
He also read the following Chainwheel Inc. statement: “After a great deal of consideration, we’ve decided the time has come to take a new and exciting step. We found a new partner in Trek Bicycle who will take what we’ve created here and build on it, continuing to serve the community in even bigger and better ways, while sticking to the same core principles of treating people like family and delivering outstanding customer services … Know we are leaving [customers] in good hands.”
Thalheimer said the store’s name and management will change, but Trek plans to keep the employees who want to stay. He hopes they will stay on with the store.
Thalheimer also said online sales and social media have become more important in the retail landscape, and Trek “will greatly enhance [the store’s] online and social media position” in Little Rock.
“Not a big change, but I think one of the things they will continue is they are very community-oriented in their stores and I think they’re very proactive as a retailer. I think those are great characteristics in a changing retail world,” Thalheimer added, noting that, although Trek is more well known as a bicycle manufacturer, it does own numerous retail stores across the country.
He may remain involved with the store in some way after the sale, possibly with its outreach efforts, but he and Managing Partner Pat Baron will not be involved in managing the store after the sale closes.
“Trek is in a lot of retail stores across the country, and they’re great in the community. I think they have a great approach to retail, and they will do a good job here in Little Rock,” Thalheimer said. “Bottom line is that I'm really excited because I think they will do a really great job. I think we’re turning it over to a great organization.”
Trek District Manager Asif Azhar did not immediately respond to an email.